When I was younger, I was just a guitar player. I wanted to be the guy who stepped to the middle of the spotlight and let out a stream of guitar histrionics. I wanted to interrupt the flow of the song to put my virtuosity on display. I also had a desire to get the unaccompanied guitar solo, where I would keep the crowd enraptured with just my pick, my fingers, my strings, and more than a little distortion. I was, after all, a heavy metal kid.
I quickly matured out of this mindset. For one thing, I wasn't all that good, and i certainly didn't really have the coordination to be a shredder. Plus while the mindset required had many desired qualities, it became quite clear I didn't have the confidence to pull it off. Ego was not my strong suit. I was, after all, a shy, depressed kid.
Another factor, though, was that I discovered songwriting. It seemed a more complete dream. I wasn't all that good at it (in spite of being able to come up with decent riffs)...I wasn't mature enough to have any real insights about life, and I didn't have the patience to really think of structure. Plus I still wanted to show off. I was, after all, a guitar player.
My post-teenage efforts to become a musician kept failing, though, and I eventually decided to call it a day. I would focus on becoming an awesome scholar instead (snicker, snicker). So I finished my Bachelors and Masters degrees. I moved to Ohio, started my Doctorate, and started a new life. And, while I was living this new life, a funny thing happened: I grew up. Another funny thing happened: as I grew up, I became a better guitar player...and when I started writing songs again, I was a much better songwriter. I was, after all, finally a bit mature.
I never really let go of my rock and roll dreams. But when I grew up a bit, my dreams changed. I wanted to front an awesome band. I wanted to be at the helm as we went through a great rock and roll song. I wanted to be singing and bashing out chords while my band mates were all behind me, in perfect time. I wanted to feel the drums behind me, to look to either side and see friends singing and playing with me. I even wanted to hear horns. I am, after all, eclectic.
I finally reached this with the last two incarnations of my band The Antidepressants. The last two gigs were particularly great, and on numerous occasions during each, I looked around me and realized, hey, I'm living in my ideal rock and roll situation... And it was glorious. I am, after all, a dreamer.
Friday's gig was, however, an ending. My drummer is moving away soon, and since the bassist was using the drummer's equipment, it means this incarnation of the band is done. My trombone player is still gonna play with me, for which I'm thankful; the trombone as an instrument adds a unique feel to my music. Plus the trombonist is always so damn happy to play. We will do shows as a duo. I am still very much searching for a new rhythm section (so, if you're a drummer or bassist...). I am nowhere near done. I will get that dream back, no matter what it takes.
I am, for the record, nothing if not persistent.